Survival Cleaning When There’s No Extra Water

What happens when you need to clean and sanitize, but you barely have enough clean water to drink and none to spare?

Clean Hands And Surfaces Without Water

There are some situations during which water could be so scarce that every drop must be used for consumption.

Cleanliness doesn’t have to go by the wayside.

The good news is that there is an arsenal of other products that can be used to exterminate those nasty microbes and maintain good hand and surface hygiene when there’s no water to spare for anything other than drinking purposes.

Hand Sanitizer:

Alcohol based sanitizing gels kill 99% of bacteria on contact. These gels are inexpensive, light weight, have a long shelf life and are cinch to use. For maximum effectiveness, apply the hand sanitizer to one palm then rub hands together until they are dry, making sure you cover all parts of your hands and fingers.

Be ware of homemade hand sanitizers. In order for these to be effective, you need alcohol content with a concentration between 65% and 90%. You can make your own mix at home – even using some essential oils as mentioned below – but always be careful that the recipe you use is as reliable as possible.

Moist Hand Towelettes:

Those little towelettes that come in individually wrapped packets are great in that you can carry them in a pocket, a wallet, or even tucked in to your hiking boots. Just make sure that the active ingredient meets the 60% or more alcohol criteria. One of my favorites are these from Purell.

Warning: These towelettes do have a shelf life. This is due to the packaging. The last thing you want to do is to store away a case of these little packets for SHTF only to open one up and find it is dried up. Or worse, it may clean your hands but not get rid of the germs. A good rule of thumb is that they will stay viable for two years. Keep that in mind if you are purchasing in quantity.

Bleach:Spray Bottle with Flower and Scrub

For general household sanitation, chlorine bleach is a winner. A good dilution is about 3/4 of a teaspoon per quart of water. More than that is a waste and not necessarily better. Just be careful or you might accidentally tie dye your clothing, your towels, and your carpeting with splatters of bleach. Also be sure to rinse well since bleach is very caustic.


The Heinz corporation says that straight 5% vinegar will kill 80% of the germs and virus. Heinz says they can’t make the claim on the bottle that it kills bacteria because of the EPA laws. As silly as it seems, the EPA requires disinfectants to be registered as a pesticide. Still, in a survival situation, vinegar is great to have on hand since it can be used in many different ways. It is less caustic than bleach and does not loose potency over time.

Essential Oils:

Many essential oils have potent anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. This includes readily available lavender, oregano, melaleuca (tea tree), and lemon essential oils. These oils can be mixed in a salve or with some witch hazel or aloe vera gel to produce an effective hand sanitizer.

It is really up to you to be prepared and increase your chance of survival by practicing good hygiene and stocking up on hand sanitizers, bleach, and sanitizing towelettes now.  Get used to washing your hands frequently and be sure to incorporate other sanitation methods into your daily life so that they become a habit.

– via Backdoor Survival

How are you preparing to stay clean and sanitized even if water is at a premium? Do you ever use things like vinegar or eseential oils in your daily cleaning habits? Will you try them to aid in your survival cleaning prep?

Be the first to comment on "Survival Cleaning When There’s No Extra Water"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.